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Local business leaders want to buy A’s, keep team in Oakland

May 3, 2012, 6:48 PM EDT

Oakland A's logo

Oakland mayor Jean Quan brought out the big guns Thursday, as local business leaders held a press conference detailing plans to buy the A’s and get a new stadium built in Oakland, reports.

Clorox Co. CEO Don Knauss led the way, backed by a consortium including Safeway, Pandora Internet Radio, World Market, Kaiser Permanente and seven other companies.

“If the current ownership group is not committed to Oakland,” Knauss said. “We want to make clear that Oakland and the East Bay business community are ready to step up to the plate to help ensure the A’s stay home where they belong in Oakland.

“We’re confident we have identified an ownership group with the financial wherewithal to buy the team, keep them here and get a new stadium built.”

Current A’s owner Lew Wolff responded afterwards, saying the team is not for sale. Wolff, of course, has been trying for years to move the team to San Jose.

It’s not going to materialize anytime soon, but as poor of an owner as Wolff has been, a change at the helm would probably be a good thing for the A’s. They might still be run as a small-market team by the new guys, but at least the primary goal would be winning, rather than Wolff’s decade-long focus on finding a better market.

  1. rosesacl - May 3, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    bay area is full of computer software guys so i ain’t saying nuffin… don’t hack my computer please…

  2. Ben - May 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Yeah, because moving to San Jose makes financial sense.
    Look, I love Oakland. I lived there for quite a while and screw the haters who think it’s one big ghetto. But the truth is that the A’s would be more successful in San Jose (which is truly a dreadful, soulless place) and unless this consortium is willing to move quickly, they should just work out a move. I’m just not sure there’s the financial base in Oakland anymore, unless people from Walnut Creek are willing to start attending games again.

  3. mybrunoblog - May 3, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    I thought the SF Giants could block the A’s move to San Jose due to the territorial rights thing? Was I wrong?

    • Ben - May 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      No, you’re not wrong, they can. But the A’s are basically trying to force MLB to force the Giants to give up territorial rights. The problem is the Giants are paying their bills in large part by attracting Silicon Valley money up to SF. The A’s moving to San Jose would cut them off from that cash.

      • Cris E - May 4, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        As in most situations where money is involved, there is a price point where the two parties can meet. With the right grease the A’s will get the San Jose market and the Giants will get a check or percentage of the money. MLB just has to put them in a room and find that point. It’ll probably be much higher than Wolfe wants to pay, but if it’s that lucrative a move for him then it should hold similar value to the Giants and he’ll have to pay it. Think of how high the cost of entry was for the Nationals and how much Angelos got out of the broadcast deal.

  4. brewcrewfan54 - May 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Isn’t the big problem getting a new stadium? Does this group have any idea on what to do about that?

    • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - May 3, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      The City of Oakland is broke, and because they’re a small market team by virtue of not being the Giants they will need to build somewhere they can get public funding. They can’t move to SJ unless there is some serious treachery (no sane-minded business owner would EVER let the A’s move to San Jose if they controlled the rights, but this is Selig we’re talking about) so the only options are to sell the team, move, or sell the team and move.

      Personally, I hope they move the team to Portland, so I can see games more often (and become a season ticket holder for the first time in my life), but there’s no guarantee we’d even be able support the team. And we’re also probably a better fit for a certain team that plays near Tampa…

      • brewcrewfan54 - May 3, 2012 at 10:07 PM

        Tha’s what I was basically saying. Unless this new group can do something about the stadium situation the problem is going to remain the same.

  5. AlohaMrHand - May 3, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    The Las Vegas Athletics……yeah won’t ever happen not because of gambling but this city staunchly has refused any attempts to build any type of new facilities whether it be an arena or a new ballpark for the 51s.Vegas in my opinion would work if one the ballpark was retractable roof and two an American league team.Youve got guaranteed well outs when the Yankees,Red Sox,Angels ,White Sox ,and Rangers are in town.Hell the Indians will draw too.The whole perception that sports are anti gambling is false as there is sports betting in all 50 states but in Nevada it’s legal and controlled by the Nevada gaming commission.The problem is this cities refusal to even consider building new venues and the big wife in town who could finance it wont because they aren’t doing anything that will have people leaving their casinos.

  6. nomoreseasontix - May 3, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Wolfe is a turd if an owner. I have no idea why the current ownership was approved by MLB. They’ve done an absolutely horrible job with the team, and a stellar job alienating the fan base.

    • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - May 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      I have no idea why the current ownership was approved by MLB.

      Quoth Wikipedia:
      “[Lew Wolfe] attended the University of Wisconsin where he was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity and a fraternity brother of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.”

      • nomoreseasontix - May 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM

        It seems like I was vaguely aware of the Fratboy connection. Thanks for reminding me…

    • Tick - May 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      MLB would block the sale to owners that want to keep the team in Oakland. It’s been done before . An ownership group led by Joe Morgan and the CEO of Men’s Warehouse tried to purchase the team before Wolfe. They were commited to keeping the team in Oakland and the sale was blocked. Selig wants the A’s out of Oakland. His actions have always made that clear.

  7. APBA Guy - May 4, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    OMG- Wolff and Selig were Pi Lam’s! Noooo.

    Maybe if I sneak back into my old school, steal the pictures off the wall of the frat house and burn them the connection to me will be severed. Maybe I’ll need a Santeria ritual. Whatever it takes, I will do it!

    Now that that’s out of the way, Wolff/Fisher have managed to drive down the relative worth of the franchise from # 26 when they bought it in 2005 to 29th in 2011. Even so, with the $ 2B sale off the Dodgers every owner believes his team’s value has increased by up to 50% in 2012. Whether the A’s value increased by 50% is certainly debatable.

    Also debatable is how much a contribution Santa Clara County and its corporations make to the financial success of the Giants. Opinions are plentiful, facts are scarce.

    I’ve given up speculating on when or if the A’s stadium situation will be resolved. I’ve also given up on this ownership group ever making a positive effort to win. Even if they got a new stadium in San Jose, the continuity in terms of play quality that was the hallmark of A’s teams for 30 years has been lost in exactly the same way that the Orioles lost their way under Angelos.

    Nothing stays the same, but some times, in the middle of an extended period of similar results, it seems that things are staying the same for the A’s. But they aren’t really. Those pieces of the team that give us some reason for hope won’t be here long.

    I don’t think this ownership cares where they play, how many people they play for, whether they win or lose, as long as the value of their investment keeps going up.

    • Old Gator - May 4, 2012 at 1:07 AM

      Let me know if you need a santera. I can swing that for you. But it’s strictly BYOC (bring your own chickens).

      • APBA Guy - May 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        Thanks. I know Macondo is the go-to for Santeria. Chickens are no issue, as the unincorporated parts of San Mateo County are overrun with them, part of the return to sustainable farming.

      • Old Gator - May 4, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        Really? Over here on the sunrise side, sustainable farming is characterized by puddles of ethanol.

  8. tropboi11 - May 4, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Hey BBB in that order, the Rays will be staying put, the only place they will be moving is to Tampa, aka the biggest baseball city in the U.S.

    • Old Gator - May 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      For one and a half months a year.

  9. drewsylvania - May 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Not sure who could be a worse owner than Wolff. Even the other revenue-stealing teams are generally good at something, like PR or raising prospects. The only thing Wolff is good at is melancholy boredom.

  10. bigleagues - May 5, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    What’s seemingly dropped-out/ignored within any A’s/Giants San Jose discussion is the Washington Nationals. That Selig was able to convince/coerce Angelos into granting the Expos permission to move to Washington, DC is the most parallel example of the A’s to San Jose argument there is.

    And speaking to that, from I what I understand of the issues involved from the Giants perspective, San Jose is a separate MSA/TV market altogether from the Bay Area and the Giants control it. Although the population of the San Jose MSA is considerably less than the SF/Oak MSA, the San Jose MSA per capita GDP is among the highest in the country . . .


    This Giants reluctance to approve the A’s move is based on how to compensate the Giants for the loss of advertising dollars and RSN revenue. Not a simple problem to solve in an area as geographically and economically complex as the Bay Area.

    San Jose as defined by OMB’s Core-Based Statistical Area would be the 2nd smallest (behind Milwaukee) in MLB. However, unlike Milwaukee, San Jose is part of a MUCH larger Combined Statistical Area . . . San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont. Of course, that somewhere along the way the Giants were able to secure rights to the San Jose area (long before San Jose’s regional GDP ranked among the Top 3 in the US as it is now and ahead of SF/Oak/Frem) is an asset that the Athletics wish they had instead. But it also means they are in the drivers seat in terms of how this ultimately resolves itself.

    San Fran/Oak/Frem is the 6th largest Media Market and CSA in the country.

    It is my humble theory that the Giants know and fully understand the economic limitations of A’s foreseeable future in Oakland. The Giants also understand the cards they hold and fully intend to use them to maximum result.

    Despite a high level of ineptitude displayed in the way Oakland’s officials have been at handling the OccupyOakland protestors, they are not entirely dumb. This announcement that they have a consortium of businesses and leaders ready to step to the plate, purchase the Athletics and keep them in Oakland is all fine and well . . . but I can’t help but view this as sheer and utter desperation.

    Why? Because I believe the Giants end game is to drive the Athletics out of the San Francisco/Oakland/SanJose MSA altogether. And that is probably quite apparent to Oakland’s businesses, civic leaders, Lou Wolfe and CEO Selig. Everyone, that is, but the fans . . . which is always the way these these things seem to shake out.

    By driving the A’s out of the region for good, the Giants will be able to maximize RSN revenue, advertising revenue, sponsorships and draw from an expanded MLB fan pool. And because of the demographics involved, the Giants have all the ingredients to surpass the likes of Philadelphia and Boston in terms of economic might . . . that is, if they can make the A’s disappear.

    In other words, the Giants have their cake, and fully intend to eat it . . . all of it.

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